Sunday, January 20, 2008

Iranian student Dies in Custody

Remember the Iranian student at UCLA, Mostafa Tabatabaii-Nejad, who had refused to show his ID card to the campus security? Remember how so many Iranian ex-pats who always turn a blind eye about human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic suddenly became student rights champions? Remember how Islamic Republic lobbyists and agents in America, fanned the flames and encouraged Iranian students in American universities to take action? Remember how the Islamic Republic backed LA TV stations like Shabkhiz, Tapesh and Rangarang, suddenly became so vocal about student rights?

Well since then there has been at least two Iranian students who have died in the custody of the Islamic Republic police, Zahra Bani Yaghoub, a 27-year-old female student, who died in prison in the western city of Hamedan in October, shortly after she was detained by the morality police while out for a stroll with her fiance, and more recently on January 15, Ebrahim Lotfollahi, who was kidnapped by security forces in front of Payame Nur University in Sanandaj and died in custody nine days after.

So, where are those Iranian ex-pats who had become so vocal for Mostafa Tabatabaii-Nejad? Their heads buried in sand as usual!


Winston said...

Berkely is infested with Commies. What do you expect from them? They love the mullahs and hate the Uncle Sam. Simple as that!

Sohrab said...

it's funny you said that because I just met a graduate of another elite US university who was so SHOCKED to meet an Iranian American who supports the war on terror, regime change in Iran, and security for Israel!

"How can you--as an Iranian man--include yourself in the US's imperialist discourse!??"

Anonymous said...

It is truly unfortunate, to say the least, that these sorts of reoccurring events are not halted. But to use such a tragic event to highlight the hypocrisy of ex-pats is undignified.

The enemy is not hypocrisy, ex-pats, or communists (which Winston somehow seems to think is). It is the ruthless deniers of human dignity and political freedom.

sohrab, maybe you and winston could join forces and SHOCK each other with your ridiculously uninformed opinions.

Its the communists!!

It's the liberals!!

It's the mullah's!!

No, in fact, it is the pervading ignorance that has found refuge in your feeble little minds.

Azarmehr said...


Please tell us why it can not be put down to the hypocrisy of ex-pats and that doing so is unfignified?!

How can so much reaction to tasering a student who refuses to show his ID card and no reaction to the murder of two detained Iranian students by some ex-pats not count as hypocrisy??

To halt the "reoccuring events" - i.e. Iranian students dying in custody, perhaps it would help if all ex-pats got their priorities right and showed similar reaction.

Anonymous said...


I didn't say it's not hypocrisy. It is.

But ex-pats can't do anything about it. Just as Pakistani ex-pats have absolutely no influence on the atrocious transgression of human rights and freedoms by Musharraf.

Not to mention how Burmese ex-pat dissidents had no influence on the even more atrocious violations of basic human dignities by the ruling junta.


Sohrab said...


Why do you have to go for ad hominem right away? (That's for later on friend--we're just warming up ;)

The UCLA cops who tasered that kid were not "ruthless deniers of human dignity." They were following regular police protocol. I'm sorry but their actions, while perhaps less than thoughtful, are not in anyway even comparable to what happens on a daily basis to the IRI's political detainees.

So what's disturbing is the fact that some Iranian expats, despite enjoying all the freedoms that come with living in democratic societies, constantly decry the West's/Israel's behavior even as the actively support the regime or at least tolerate it as a necessary counterweight to "imperialism."

I think that's what Azarmehr was talking about. I hope you will respond to the issues rather than resort to name calling.

Anyhow, I also encourage you to visit my blog:

We might disagree on any and all issues but I'd still welcome your opinions.

Anonymous said...

more insults and personal attacks from barmakid, I see.
how nice

Azarmehr said...

No I beg to differ from you on that. IRI is very active across the universities in the West and if Iranian ex-pats showed they cared about the issues in Iran and condemned IRI for its human rights violations, I am sure it would have an affect.

I am surprised you underestimate the Burmese ex-pats, they have focued the eyes of the world on Burma and the junta is under real pressure. With regards to IRI after 28 years we still have to argue with useful idiots that IRI is not a democracy!

I met Gary Sick for lunch in London a while ago, there was only one point with which I could not argue with him on and that was when he expressed his amazement that an ex-pat community so successful in their professions and in business has a political impact of zero wherever they are found.

Anonymous said...


When you put it like that, I have to apologize: mea culpa for the ad hominem.

I just don't understand how you can be regurgitating political slogans like the "War On Terror." And the security of Israel; what does that mean? Does that mean we should pursue the security of Israel at all costs, human and material?

I hate to sound so smug, but my convictions compel me; it's voters like you that give political life to demagogic candidates like Rudy Giuliani and his crusade against islamofascists (I bet you love that word).

And a clarification: when I said "the ruthless deniers of human dignity and political freedom," I was referring to the IRI; not the tasering incident.

And Azarmehr,

Just cause you saw Burmese dissidents paraded around on television does not mean they affected anything; they didn't. I implore you to read about the current situation in Burma, you don't seem to be updated.

In a nutshell, access to resources(natural gas) off the west coast of Burma in the Bay of Bengal was of much more importance to the regional and international governments than the efforts of some impotent ex-pat dissidents. No action was taken, the junta is still there, democracy and human rights are still absent, and the bodies of thousands of monks have yet to be recovered while other political prisoners remain latent in jail.

The junta is under no effective pressure.

Plus, the Burmese are not nearly as important as securing Israel, right?

Azarmehr said...

The battle for Burma is not over yet. These things take a long time.
A successful international public opinion campaign example however I can give you was the fight against apartheid in South Africa, which took years.

I remember how ordinary people used to avoid buying goods from South Africa. In my own uni, we used to have Saturday car boot sales where the money would go towards scholarships for South African activists who were banned form their universities. Ordinary people would switch their bank accounts, e.g. from Barclays, if they were seen involved in supporting Apartheid regime and when Barclays changed its policy they would open bank accounts with them again. Similarly the governments had an interest to do business with the Apartheid regime but public pressure forced them to distance themselves until the apartheid regime collapsed. It took some time to succeed but it finally did.

Why can't Berkley students also run some fundraising events and sponsor Iranian "starred" students who have been banned from continuing their education because of their political activities?

In any case if soliciting public opinion and international campaigns are a waste of time why do these things for Palestinians? why are these things good when it comes to Palestine but not when it comes to Iran??

Anonymous said...

Sohrab, the problem is you interpret some people's "toleration for the IRI" as something to do with counter-weighing imperialism.
That's absurd.

And yes, the actions of the Likud and other right wing, ultra-nationalist parties and politicians should be decried!

Anonymous said...

Please do not publish:

My last comment was not a response to your last post. It was meant a continuation of my other post.

And may I urge you to join in on the discussion at the blog on world affairs at the Financial Times website. It's written by Giedeon Rechman and there are some smart Iranians that post regularly.

Azarmehr said...


regarding the comment you asked me not to publish. There is only so many hours/day and I only have so many hours to spare. I would love to spend more time in discussions on blogs etc. but probably I wont have time. I hate becoming just a fulltime cyber activist.

Sohrab said...


I'm glad your passion comes from a place of conviction.

(You would be surprised to find out who I'm supporting in the US primaries.)

I certainly think the Bush admin., while perhaps well-intentioned to start out with, has incompetently bungled the middle east by invading Iraq without planning for the post-occupation transition, etc. etc. And the Republicans in congress were not/have not been living up to their constitutional duties.

All that said, I also think that the effort to curb the growth of radical Islam, which is a real threat, has been ineffective at least partly because of Western populations who have been ideologically softened to a dangerous degree by the left in US and Europe.

What I mean by that is: the average westerner, from the day they enter kindergarten, is relentlessly and brutally made to understand that the world is a horrible place because of Western behavior through the centuries and up til now. When they go to college, they are made to understand that it is the Enlightenment itself that's at the root of the problem, that "freedom" is a relative term, that the constitutional liberties we enjoy were really only meant for dead, white men, etc. etc. ad infinitum. (Contrast this with the messages that children in Iran are exposed to on a daily basis!)

You might think I'm portraying a cliche image of the PC culture and establishment. But unfortunately the cliche houses a kernel of truth at its core. The PC culture, coupled with declining standards of education in the US, has undermined the "war on terror" or whatever you want to call it. And some policymakers are forced to whip up support using simplistic slogans and propaganda like "Islamofascism."

And again: SOME Iranian expats have added to this ideological weakening and confusion, by not taking a resolute stand against the regime, which, as the experience of millions of Iranians attests, has been nothing but a monstrous dictatorship that has wasted Iran's blood and treasure to self-perpetuate and to advance its own bizarre, backward causes. Some Iranian expats have even joined in the fight--on the IRI's side! Take Hamid Dabashi or Hossein Derakhshan or Trita Parsi or ...

This is what's so infuriating for so many of us on the regime change side of the debate. That we have compatriots who know just as well as we do what life under the IRI is like but they stay silent or even become complicit with the IRI by serving as unofficial diplomats for the regime. Meanwhile, they can also choose to drink, have pretty wives who don't mind their hijabs, and read and say whatever they please because the evil white men known as the US's founding fathers guaranteed their right to do so.

As for Israel: I don't think Israel's cause should be elevated above all others. But, I do think that Israel is an embattled nation whose record is being distorted and who is being singled out for condemnation in an unfair way. Take for example, the British teacher's union recently voting to boycott all Israeli academics for their help in maintaining an HR-violating apartheid. Meanwhile, they continue to work with academics from Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries who HR records are far worse than Israel's. This kind of injustice draws me to Israel's side.

More on this later I have to get to work! :)

Azarmehr said...

Very well put sohrab.

Anonymous said...


I urge you to develop a more penetrating understanding of reality.

While it is unfortunate that the Iranian youth is being indoctrinated by the IRI, is your solution to have western education ideologically "harden" its youth? If so, I must categorically reject such shallow, reactionary solutions to real problems.

And yes, the actions of the west are the foundation of instability in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. One would only have to look at the map to see how the nation-state systems in these continents are the remnants of British, Spanish, French, and Dutch imperialism.

For example, the negotiation of the Sykes-Picot agreement (by the French and British) during WWI has disallowed any semblance of a just stability in the Middle East. The formerly mandated states are simply pawns of the West's geopolitical strategy.

Contrast this with government under the Ottomans and you get a much more benign and prosperous condition. There were no nation-states. Jews were not subject to Ottoman religious laws; they were held accountable to Jewish law enforced by their Grand Rabbis. The same went for Christians and other religions.

And you speak of injustices towards the Israelis and the best you could come up with is the legitimate, though ineffective, boycott by the British teacher's union. What about the injustices towards Palestinians? Let me name just a few:

The imprisonment of Gaza and its inhabitants.

The control of all exit/entry points in the occupied territories that are often used as weapons - Depriving Palestinians of the daily necessities of life; like food.

The building of racist, Jewish only highways throughout the occupied territories.

The launching of bloody, unjustified, disproportional wars like the most recent one in Lebanon.

And all the while the Israelis are getting a $36 billion aid package as the legitimate government of Palestine is boycotted and starved to death.

And hear you are, while real problems persist, quibbling about the hypocrisy of ex-pats. Who cares!

Azarmehr said...


Not that I want to answer for Sohrab, as I am sure he will do a much better job himself.

So are you saying under the Ottomans things were better? :))

As for caring, I just wish Iranians like you, 23 years old or not, would care about their own people first and then the Palestinians!

Let me name just a few injustices by the Arabs to Iranians starting from 1400 years ago:

- Massacre of Iranian population, men, women and children. Running the windmills of Istakhr with the blood of Iranians by the Arab general, Ibn Saad as just one horrific example

- Forcing Iranians to abandon their religion or pay Jazzieh

- Destroying Iranian libraries and heritage

- Imposing the Arab culture by brutal force

I can continue all the way from 1400 years ago to present day

- Claiming Iranian territory
- Wanting to rename the Persian Gulf
- Claiming Iranian scholars as their own
- Waging war against Iran

and just to name a few of injustices inflicted by the present Arab assimilated rulers:

- Massacre of Iranian dissidents, men, women, children and even pregnant women

- Strangling Iran's economy through mismanagement, nepotism, sending funds to "Arab brothers"

- Forcing millions of Iranians to flee the country. Only two such mass migrations are recorded in our history, one after the Arab invasion I and now the Arab Invasion II. Must tell you something.

- Setting off a moral decline, drugs, prostitution, massive corruption

- Holding Public executions in front of children

- Killing off Iranian joyous culture

- Applying a religous apartheid whichhas denied many worthy Iranians from serving their country

and its just to name a few. Now tell me what the Israelis have done against the IRANIANS not the Palestinians and let me understand why your priorities are not your own people and long so much for the Ottoman empire?

Anonymous said...

So pathetic when something like this:

is happening in Iran, some "Iranians" are still more concerned about what happens in Gaza! Charity begins at home I say!

Bahramerad said...

barmakid -

With your urgings I tried to 'penetrate' - 'reality' -
but it just kept asking me for more and more...

What do you think I should do now?

Anonymous said...


First, his is a blog, not a place where I can follow through on my priorities.

Second, I am a student and have studied more than just the history of Iran. And I enjoy talking about history and what I have learned.

Third, not that I need to justify myself to you, but I will be the first to tell you that Iran shouldn't be consumed with the Palestinian issue. Not for the reasons you think so, but for the very simple fact that Iran is not interested in helping Palestinians but to advance its own regional agenda.

And lastly, this is a very important topic in America and has a lot to do with how people vote. Sohrab is an American voter and elections are right around the corner. While you might be satisfied with Gordon Brown, we are not with George Bush.

So the next time you feel the urge to give me a lesson about where my priorities should lie, stop yourself.

If I'm not mistaken you just wrote passionately about Burma and now you scold me for talking about Palestine? Hypocrisy? Wasn't that a theme of this thread?

Palestinians are people too, not just Persians, as much as you would like to think so.


p.s. Yes, life was much more peaceful under the later years of the Ottomans; they knew how to govern the region.

And while Arabs and
Mongols might have committed terrible acts against Iran, so has Iran towards the Arabs and Turks.

Let me point you to the Safavids and there bloody rein; yes the truth is a bitch - Persians are not the caretakers of morality.

Azarmehr said...


I will be honest I never knew as much as you about history when I was 23. I commend you for your knowledge on the subject.

If you recall I mentioned Burma because their ex-pats have focused the attention of the world upon their plight while our ex-pats are more concerned with other issues as long as it does not endanger their cheap holidays to Iran. So I just don't know what Mrs. Shaghayegh has to do with Mr. Goodarzi? as the Persian saying goes.

Maths and Logic were my academic passions when I was 23!
So based on your knowledge of history and how good things were during the late years of the Ottomans, I have to assume you know more than me, which I am happy to concede, but then the logical question for me would be how many people in the region long for a return to the days of Ottoman empire? Is there an underground movement for this we don't know about?

Were the Ottomans better than the Shah? Were the Janisaries better than SAVAK?! I heard they ate their captives alive. The Israelis must have trained them :)

You say Arabs and Mongols MIGHT have committed terrible acts, you mean you are not sure?! dont understand the use of MIGHT here.

You rightly mention the Safavid bloody reign, as an example of Persian brutality but forgive me for not having studied history as well as Engineering but the Safavids were Turks no? Just like most of those who ruled Iran in the last thousand years and yet some Turks can't stop saying Persian Chauvenism without getting out of bed :))
Safavids also started all this Ayatollah hierarchy and made Shiism the official religion in Iran.

On a light hearted note, I have just found out something about my family tree, which if true traces my ancestors to an adviser in the court of Ismaiil Shah, the founder of the Safavid dynasty and a cruel king by all comparisons. He drank blood or wine out of teh skull of his enemies I believe :((

So knowing about your belief in genomics you must think I am a very cruel person too :))

Sohrab said...


As Azarmehr has shown, if you want to get into the tif-for-tat style of historical condemnation, the argument could go on forever.

I was not implying that Israel is faultless. I was taking issue with the leftward tendency to single out Israel for behaviors that some expats from the left excuse or ignore in other nations. That's why I chose the example of the Teacher's Union. It was very much symptomatic of broader patterns of anti-semetism and irrationalism that have united, at least temporarily, the global left and global jihad (thus revealing the opportunism of both).

But, if you want to go for the tit-for-tat, you would find yourself having to quickly backtrack: every Israeli act of aggression you mention, I can reciprocate with a reminder of a suicide attack (not to mention daily threats of annihilation and a neighborhood that refuses, for the most part, to even acknowledge her sovereign right to exist). We could go at this forever. The same goes for the Arab vs. Persian dichotomy.

If you could put aside the rhetoric for a moment, you would find that every ongoing historical conflict can be viewed in this way: everyone has bloody hands. So it's ludicrous to try to judge history through any particular contemporary moral perspective. Certainly not the "anti-colonialist" one.

Let me explain this last statement. If at the heart of your argument is your idea that colonial history and its "evils" still resonate today, which have precipitated today's instabilities, then you have to consider counterfactuals: what if any member of the conquered peoples (the native populations of North and South America, Africans, the Muslim Umma, etc etc.) had reached the West's level of superiority first? (By "technology" I refer not only to scientific or military advancements, but also the technologies of free-market-oriented social and economic management, as well as the Enlightenment and the individualism it fostered, etc. etc.)

If you are honest with yourself, and if you are indeed a student of history, then you would respond to this counterfactual in this way: those same colonial subjects, those same mostaz-afin would have been today's ascendent hegemons. No ifs or buts about it. In reality, of course, they took a different path of development, they played the hand contingency dealt them in a particular way and they lost. Period.

Now as an aside: we are lucky that things turned thus. Because--and again you have to be honest with yourself to buy this--the West's values, which played a big part in how things turned out, are, on balance, values that can continue to inspire civilization to move forward.

So to keep on droning about imperialism and colonialism and hegemony and phallocentrism and Westernization is not going to help anybody--be it Palestinians, Iranians, or Native Americans. Because god knows mislead thinkers and leaders from all political stripes have milked this cow to death and the "oppressed" have not been "cast off their chains." The only thing this sort of mental masturbation does for us is to keep holding us back because it let's keep on blaming someone else for our own problems. And because it allows for the sort of ideological distortion I mentioned earlier.

Okay that's it for me. I'm done "penetrating" reality. Your turn buddy...

Anonymous said...


In fact, I am leading the underground movement to revive the Ottoman Empire; would you like to sign up for our e-mail list?

Well, the Safavids were not Turks, they were of mixed Kurdish and Azerbaijani descent. In fact they fought the Ottoman Turks in a series of gruesome wars beginning in the 1500s. The Safavids, after taking from the Ottomans what is known as Iraq today, forcefully converted masses of people to Shiism.

The Ottomans eventually retook "Iraq," and now Iraqi's (500 years later) are wading in the residue of the Safavid's actions, as indeed, 60% of Iraqis are Shia. Of course the Safavids are not the only historical culprits of the morass in Iraq today; the French and the British played a pivotal role.

And one last note about the Ottomans before I shift the discussion (ba ejaazat:)): if you ask any scholar, they will tell you that the Ottomans were very shrewd, pragmatic, and efficient governors. This had a measured affect on tranquility and prosperity - external threats notwithstanding.

If I may ask, particularly to any Shi'i readers, what should we extrapolate from the fact that the Iranian population was forcefully converted to Shiism in the 1500s and has remained so up until today?

In the Qur'an, the Angel Gabriel tells Muhammad to convince the pagans that they worshiped false gods by reminding the disbelievers of the story of Abraham. After being visited by God, Abraham asks his father and people (who were pagans at the time) why they believe in something they can't hear or see - referring to the idols they worshiped.

They responded by saying they do so because they found their father's doing so, and their father's found their father's doing so.

So I pose this question; Are we following the misguided traditions of our forefathers by continuing to espouse shiism?



I forgive you for being related to Shah Ismael:) You don't seem like you would drink anything out of any skull. And plus, I don't think anyone with a British accent is truly cruel, except David Cameron - what a deusch!

But seriously, it's not about your ancestry, but whether or not your ideas are given more regard because of who you descend from and not because of your actions. Honestly, would we be listening to the Shah's son's ideas (or lack thereof) if we didn't know who he was or if he wasn't of royal lineage? I don't think so.

And thank you for your commendations:)

Anonymous said...


Bebakhseed, valy shoma kheili mohsen hastee keh ba man een torri sohbat koni jenab.

But if "reality" is asking you for more and more, I think you should stop trying to penetrate it and seek the appropriate medication so 'it' can stop talking to you.

If that doesn't work, try reading a book instead of sohrab's blog.


Anonymous said...

I would like to post a response from one of my colleague's that I invited to read your blog. He chose to send me his thoughts in a personal message, but here they are; enjoy:)

It's funny with the British union thing. They actually never voted to boycott Israel but rather had a vote on whether or not to have a debate to have a boycott on Israel. This is a perfect example of how Israel's fanatical supporters have blown shit to a level so out of touch with reality (equivocating Palestinians dispossession and occupation, to a debate in England) that it's not even realistic to expect an intelligent discussion on the issues.

just a few words: these people seem astoundingly ignorant with their South Africa comparison. The difference is, the US actually SUPPORTED apartheid South Africa, straight up to Reagan (the compassionate conservative). What's more, these dimwits don't seem to realize that US firms are banned from doing business with Iran and that Iran and the US haven't had official diplomatic relations in decades....that is, there is nothing to boycott even if it makes sense to do so, I simply don't see how it makes any sense to say Iranian ex-pats or morally deficient on this score. Moreover, this guy is saying that people like Trita Parsi and Hamid Dabashi are pro-IRI....what he's basically is hoping is that no one has read these authors but unfortunately for him, many have. Parsi is a realist of the Fukuyama persuasion who happens to think and make a convincing argument that launching a war on Iran would be an incredibly mindless strategic mistake for the US. Apparently that makes him a supporter of the Islamic revolution in this guys wacky world. Dabashi opposes war on moral grounds and has made some of the most powerful critiques of Islamic theocracy (and religious absolutism in general), and yet this numb-nut tries to put him in the Ahmadinejad camp. The thing I've found when anyone makes these extravagant arguments is that the first thing to ask for is the facts. Does any of this shit really make sense in the real world, not just in these people's hysterical caricature of reality? I mean really, look at those arguments, they aren't based on any facts, just assertions and assumptions that are completely unsubstantiated by the facts. It's absurd. Sure Iranian ex-pats can do more, any ex-pat can do more...I'm disappointed in Mexican ex-pats in their lack of involvement in democratizing Mexico but does any of this shit make sense? At this point, the only thing an Iranian ex-pat in the US can do is hope and pray the US doesn't bomb their country. blah!

Azarmehr said...


Unfortunately when writing emails or the way we are corresponding now, because the tone of our voices is not clear and we can't see each other's facial expressions and if there are smileys missing, misunderstanding can happen as whether the other person is joking, serious, being rude, affectionate etc.

While I see smileys in the next paragraphs from you, which also demonstrates that you also have a good sense of humour and I am sure we would get on very well, but I am really not sure if you are serious about your underground movement to revive the Ottoman empire. Are you serious? Can I be a Janisari? :))

I didn't say I was related to Shah Ismail, I said according to that family tree, which by no means is authenticated, one of my ancestors was an adviser in the court of Shah Ismail. We can argue about the geneology of the Safavids, but for me its not the genes or the passport that determine one's nationality, its the person's culture and traditions. The Safavid's spoke Turkish in the court - I heard the Ottoman's spoke Persian, is that true? - and their crack troops the Ghezelbash were definitely Turkish tribes that had poured into Iran.
In the last 1400 years we have had very few Iranian rulers, Al-Buyeh, Zand and Pahlavis being the few amongst mainly Turkish rulers that ruled Iran.

As for what you said about Reza Pahlavi, would anyone listen to him if he did not represent the throne? Probably not, but its precisely because he does that his position becomes important and should be used wisely. The same can be said about a celebrity, would anyone listen to George Clooney going on about Darfur if he was not who he is now? Probably not. I don't get your point.

Anonymous said...


I will quit the tit-for-tat, but not because you have somehow come to consider a discussion of the consequences of imperialism as hackneyed. I'll tell you what, what if all our discussions from this point on assumed history began in 1948, cool?

And also, let's just say that the Western values that we so dearly espouse took form in 1965. That way we can conveniently forget about 400 years of slavery followed by segregation. And women always had the right to vote right? Well they did in 1965, so we're safe.

You might use big words Sohrab, but you have little ideas - if they even deserve to be called ideas.

So if I may ask, who are you supporting in the presidential elections?


p.s. Azarmehr, if you don't get my point, then I'm not gonna take anymore time explaining something that you don't have the capacity to understand. And NO, I am not leading an underground movement to revive the Ottoman

Azarmehr said...


Normally I reply to you straight away but as for your "colleague", I thought I wait and reply with a cool head.
Where do you both work? at the NIAC?

Even if we assume that the European and US governments oppose the Iranian government and want regime change and European companies and US companies including Haliburton did not deal with the mullahs regime, I am afraid not only your "colleague" doesn't know how to debate in a civilised manner and avoid calling those who have different views from him "dimwits", but he lacks imagination too.
If you had bothered to make contact with any dissidents in Iran, not that you care about them, they would have told you that the Iranian regime will think twice before killing a dissident who is well known by the world.

Let me give you a personal example. When Batebi was sentenced to death after his picture was published on the cover of the Economist, I let Barbara Smith the foreign editor of the Economist at the time, know about the sentence. She then published an article telling the world about the sentence in the next issue. She also put me in touch with Reuters who owned the picture. Reuters gave me the high resolution picture and wavered all loyalties. With the high resolution picture we managed to print T-shirst and posters of Batebi. I spoke at a university to an active group in the NUS. They then suggested and managed to get Batebi elected as the honorary vice-president of the union. We also performed plays about the plight of Batebi at universities and schools. All this publicity I think has helped to ensure Batebi is still alive today and free. To me this is all a pleasant contrast to the massacre of Iran's political prisoners in 1988 when the crime went unnoticed by the world.

I would like to know what you and your colleague at the NIAC were doing at the time of 1999 student uprisings in Iran? campaigning for Hamas probably? How did you manage to get that grant from NED by the way?
Oh yes, your colleague Tritta Parsi! what can I say abiut a liar who pretends to be a Zoroastrian and goes on Swedish TV and claims stoning to death was originally a Zoroastrian thing and part of the Iranian culture and not the Islamic Republic's fault?!
I refer other readers to Hassan Daii's many writings on NIAC and Tritta Parsi, and how Parsi on many occasion won the praises of Islamic Republic officials like Ambassador Faramarze Fathnejad:
“the importance of relation with Iranian organizations in the U.S. and specially pointed to NIAC and his young leader who is a consultant to CNN and has been very successful in his efforts”
Need I say more?

Anonymous said...


Well, as I was only 15 in 1999 I was not cognizant of the importance of political rights. But I commend you for your efforts.

Allow me to make an effort to tone down the hostility. My colleague would not have written that way if he knew I was going to post it.

Azarmehr said...

How old was your "dimwit" colleague? Did he think of doing anything or just resign to bend over for "Tritta"?

The example about Batebi was just one small example of what ex-pats could do and some have done.

Also even if the European or American governments oppose the Iranian regime, what about when sections of politicians or parlimentarians go to bed with the Ayatollahs. For example when Baroness Nicholson calls "Iran a shining democracy in the region"
Should the ex-pats have just done nothing or showed this kind of reaction:

Even if ALL the Western politicians oppose the Iranian regime, the Iranian regime is entrenching itself firmly within the West by opening schools, mosques, "cultural centres", TV stations, buying academics, etc.
So the ex-pats could at least oppose the formations of these mini-Islamic Republics in their new homeland to stop the repeat of the 1979 nightmare.

So tell your "dimwit" colleague there is a lot ex-pats could do if they just have imagniation and commitment and not Infatuated by the likes of Tritta Parsis and their smoothie pseudo Leftie jargons.

Anonymous said...

What kind of a dimwit is Barmakid's colleague to suggest the ex-pats can not do anything. The wealth of Iranian ex-pats in America alone is estimated to be more than $400 Billion, yet only a handful try to help the political victims of the Islamic Republic.
Surely they can do more to help change take place in Iran.

Anonymous said...

"Sure Iranian ex-pats can do more, any ex-pat can do more...I'm disappointed in Mexican ex-pats in their lack of involvement in democratizing Mexico but does any of this shit make sense?"

Azarmehr said...

Indeed you don't make any sense dimwit, because you have your head stuck up your arse and think Tritta Parsi is your hero ;)

This is a blog where we talk about Iran. If I write about some student who died in custody in Iran and you turn around and say oh but someone also died in Columbia, I will say what a dimwit this twat is.

Anonymous said...

My friend, who is the same age as me, is Mexican; that's why he used that example. So I recommend that you just take it easy and act your age.

Azarmehr said...

Well I don't pretend to be an expert on Mexico and don't go leaving comments on Mexican related blogs which sound all knowing and condescending, so I suggest your Mexican friend does the same too.

Azarmehr said...

Oh Barmakid, by the way, you and your Mexican friend don't have to refer to other people's opinion as 'shit' to prove you are in your early twenties!

Anonymous said...

He's not pretending to be an expert on the Middle East, he is. And the Middle East includes Iran. You don't have to be Iranian to talk about Iran, moreover to talk about US-Iranian affairs when you live in the U.S.

And also, I apologized and tried to tone down the aggressiveness. I never called you any names or your opinions "shit."

Azarmehr said...

Its there in black & white:
"does any of this shit make sense?"

So what is your friend's name? lets see if we recognise him as a ME "expert". Why doe she have to be anonymopus?

Anonymous said...

He never posted as anonymous, I posted his comments to me in an e-mail. He doesn't really blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barmakid,

Your friend/colleague/lover whoever he/she is, claims
"these people seem astoundingly ignorant with their South Africa comparison." and his reasoning is that with the case of South Africa, the US and Western countries supported the Aparthid regime, whereas with Iran that is not the case and since we live in these countries which oppose Iran, there is nothing we should do here.

ACtually this shows how much he doesn't know about Britain's role in supporting the Ayatollahs.

Let me tell you a personal story. In 1988 I was a guest at a Conservative Party association in Oxford. The VIP at the party was the then UK Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd. I took the opportunity and asked him why Her Majesty's Government does not condemn the massacre of political prisoners in Iran?
To my horror, Douglas Hurd, replied, "I think the Iranian government is right and this is the only way to rout out the Communists and the Lefties in Iran, who are getting too strong!"

This is the honest truth of what happened and what was said. I nearly dropped my cup of tea and biscuits when I heard him say that.

So perhaps you can tell your Mexican whatever about my experience.

Anonymous said...


Why did "Her Majesty's" government not condemn the massacre of political prisoners in the Shah's prison? Why does "Her Majesty's" government not condemn the silent genocide of Palestinians?

Everyone has their own experiences, and no one cares about yours, especially not someone as smart as my colleague. If you have something more intellectually valuable to offer, I'll respond to you more substantively; as for now, I suggest you stop eating tea and biscuits and pick up a book, preferably one by Trita Parsi:)


Anonymous said...

What does exist, on the net, only covers Trita Parsi's academic and professional achievements.

For such a high profile and public individual, I would've expected more personal information to be readily available e.g. father and mother's names? where were they born? It is said Trita was born in Ahvaz - Khouzestan province of Iran, but when, which hospital, etc..? I would like to see records, dates, details... anyone can claim to be an Iranian, learn persian, be raised in Sweden and claim to be an "Iran Expert". Oh, and claim to be a Zoroastrian! The concept of Al Taqiyah is more alive than ever! Perhaps, I am the one who can't locate such information about him on the web?

Trita Parsi needs to be FULLY investigated, preferably by someone in Sweden. Besides, I don't believe Trita Parsi is his real name.

About Stoning and Zoroastrianism: There is no connection, never has been.

"For those who are unaware, there is a “stoning of the Devil “Satan” ritual when Muslim (Shia or Sunni) pilgrims visit Mecca (Saudi Arabia). The pilgrims must themselves collect appropriate shape and size stones, bring them back to the appropriate location and begin to throw them at a pretend-to-be Devil (not an actual person) as an act of denouncing the Devil. It is important to know that in Islam, “Satan” is not just evil, but is known to be “a Seducer”. Hence, stoning as punishment for “Adultery” is very interesting to say the least. In Adultery it can also be said that one is “seduced” by the devil to commit a sin of that nature." - Here

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, can Frita, err, Trita explain why an Islamic Republic formed and governed by a bunch of Ayatollahs, who actively promote Islam, "Islamic" laws & Arab-Islam practices & culture based on the koran ( as clearly stated in IR constitution), would install & enforce a so-called Zoroastrian form of punishment ?

Over the past 29 years it has been very obvious with plenty of examples that these Mullahs not only do not respect Iran or Iran's pre-Islamic history, traditions and culture, but they have often deliberately tried to destroy them. Funny how they should make an exception for such a barbaric practice i.e. Stoning (sangsar)

Anonymous said...


Regarding Trita Parsi, I really don't care enough about him to want to know that much, he is not a prophet, a king, or anyone who has significantly impacted history. He is simply a scholar with political connections and ambitions (of which many people apparently despise).

And as far as stoning, there seems to be a gap in what you have studied about the worlds religions. Maybe you have just studied Zoroastrianism and Islam, which probably led you to draw such a loose connection.

The concepts Zoroastrians espouse, i.e. the dichotomy of good and evil, light and dark, etc., are the foundation of the world's religions. That includes Judaism, and more directly Christianity (who also used stoning as a method of punishment).

In turn, Islam adopts many of the concepts of Christianity, and indeed, Muslims consider their religion to be a revival and continuation of the old faiths. In fact, Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qur'an!

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are not the only religions to be influenced by Zoroastrianism, but they are the most prominent.
Also, Zoroastrianism was influenced by preexisting concepts as well; generally by the human tendency to interpret their reality in dichotomies.

As far as human history is concerned, there was nothing new about what Zoroastrianism preached when it's concept of cosmic dualism became widely espoused, and there is nothing revolutionary about the religious concepts Christianity and Islam adopted.

There is a general theme here we should acknowledge. And that is that these religions gained prominence via the empires that forcefully spread them and exploited them to justify their rule.

Zoroastrianism gained prominence with the expansion of the Persian Empire, beginning with the Achamenian dynasty (Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes).

Christianity's main conduit was the pax Romana, who also used it to justify their rule when Emperor Constantine declared the Roman Empire a Christian Empire and thus became known as the Holy Roman Empire.

Islam gained prominence when it was spread throughout Asia and parts of Europe by the Umayyids and later the Abbassids.

So the theme becomes clear, the worlds religions gained their prominence through human conquest of other humans and land masses, not through the message of their religion.

If we were to discuss more esoteric religions, you will find the same theme. The spreading of Confucianism/Buddhism corresponds with the expansion/conquests of various Chinese dynasties.

And if we take a look at a budding religion like Bahai'sm, it too adopts many of its concepts from preexisting religions. The text of the Quran is frequently quoted in their holy book and essays of their prophet Bahallah. I guess there just waiting for a powerful dynasty to spread their religion via geographic conquest to gain prominence through numbers.

So if you were trying to demonize Islam and glorify Zoroastrianism, you failed. None of these religions deserve glorification because they all, in effect, have the same overriding negative consequence. Which is to further divide humanity (artificially, not naturally) by emphasizing their adopted ideological differences and undermining their ontologically common humanity.


p.s. A general note: Humans interpret their reality through their experiences, the experiences of their contemporaries, and their forefathers' experiences.
Therefore any idea a human has is necessarily influenced by such experiences, which means our consciousness and our capacity to interpret an objective reality is severely limited. So in a sense, I guess we are consigned to continuing this unfortunate human legacy of perpetual division unless we teach our progeny a philosophy of unity. Because indeed, revolution begins in the mind of a child. blah!

Anonymous said...

Prof. Barmakid,

I am sorry if I assumed you were intelligent to begin with. The reason I quoted you my conversation with Douglas Hurd was to counter the view of your ME expert friend who was under the impression that the Western governments did not support the Islamic Republic. But I see that you are just a pretentious academic as well as a 'nafahme bisavad' which by the way you spelled wrong too.

Anonymous said...

If you look at your keyboard the 'b' is next to the 'v'. It was a typo, (and I don't have a program that allows me to type in Farsi) but I admit I shouldn't have said such thoughtless things. I was heated when I said it and I have requested for it to be deleted. Hopefully it will be.

mea culpa,

So why do you post under different names? That's bloody weak.

Anonymous said...

And if you wanted me to respond in a respectful way, you should have informed me of you experience in respectful way, but you didn't, so I didn't.

Anonymous said...


Please refrain from giving me lessons and sermons in history. I don't know who you are and have never seen your credentials in history or otherwise.

Furthermore, you don't sound like a 23 year old you profess to be (not a compliment), nor are you anti-IRI, at least, not to me. Although, the words you write and the silent noises you make with your words on the net maybe enticing, to some.

Since you don't know me either, I will say that: I am well aware of history, Iran's in particular, and comparative religions, including non-Abrahamic ones.

Visit my blog and various posts/comments/links (history included) in some depth. You could also do a search on my blog using keywords.

Certainly, there is never a glorification of Islam vs. Zoroastrianism. Only the truth & certain facts.

If you wish you could leave relevant comments on my blog, and I may choose to reply if needed, and when I have the time.


Anonymous said...


You know, the fact that no one, including Azarmehr, believes that I am 23 is an ENORMOUS compliment; even if you didn't intend it to be.

I'm sorry for lecturing you, I shouldn't have implied that you are oblivious to other religions. It's just that everyone that posts on this blog seems to be so anti-Islamic, and it nettles me. So I guess I mistook your post as a subtle way of bashing Islam (deeneh aksariat-e hamvatanha-ye man va shomah).

Also, whether you believe that I am anti-I.R.I. is irrelevant to me, I know that I am; I just don't go parading emotionally, and therefore thoughtlessly inspired ideas about how to go about toppling the regime.

I am not a formal student of history and have no credentials in the subject, I just study it on the side. And in fact, I just received my BA in an entirely different subject that I won't disclose because I have disclosed enough already (like my age) and I keep getting called out on it. Not to mention that I know nothing about anyone else.

And in the spirit of Super Tuesday:



If anyone is on Facebook, I invite you to join the group
Iranians for Obama (if you agree with our mission statement) and also get to know other younger and active Iranians around the world. It's a great networking tool!